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Frequently asked questions

You probably have plenty of questions about freshman year and beyond. We've gathered the most frequently asked questions and organized them into these categories.

Our most frequently asked question

Can I bring a car to campus?

Yes, all students, including freshmen, may bring a car to campus; all students with cars must purchase a parking decal to park on campus.


Getting started at UMass Dartmouth

Why should I attend orientation?

Orientation—two days during the summer and a four-day session right before classes start—provides information and advice about academics and college life. Orientation includes discussions on topics ranging from study skills to living with roommates. Older students, a key part of the orientation staff, can answer your questions from a "been there" perspective.

The orientation session for families provides programs on pertinent subjects such as financial aid and the issues that first-year students typically face.

What courses will I take?

The courses you'll take as a freshman depend on your decision about a major. If you've declared a specific major, you will be assigned the appropriate starting courses. Many first-year students take five courses, while others decide to take four.

Why do I need to take placement tests?

All students take math and English courses. Placement tests taken before orientation help determine which course level is most appropriate.

Do I have an advisor?

Every student has a member of the faculty who acts as his or her assigned advisor. A professor from your college is the ideal person with whom to discuss your choice of courses, career plans, the requirements for your degree, and any difficulties you're facing. You see your advisor before each semester for an okay on your class schedule.

Is it necessary to choose a major before enrolling?
What should I do if I’m unsure about a major?
When do I have to select a major?

Many freshmen are uncertain about a major, so they enroll in our "arts and sciences undeclared" program. Your first-year courses will encompass a range of disciplines, giving you the opportunity and time to decide what field most appeals to you—then you select a specific major by your junior year. Support programs during the first year provide guidance about your plans for the future.

For students who know the general direction their studies will take but still aren't sure about a particular major, there is also the option to select an "undeclared major" within the colleges of Business and Engineering, or to select "studio art undeclared" in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. By your junior year, you will select a more specific major.

The Academic Advising Center is the place to begin your search for a major that will be the right one for you.


Your first year

What's a typical first year at UMass Dartmouth?

There's really no such thing — programs of study vary with a student's major. But there are a number of courses in the sciences, humanities, and social sciences which first-year students frequently take, giving you an opportunity to meet many other freshmen.

Should I bring my own computer?

Computing and Information Technology Services (known on campus as CITS) provides guidelines to assist students who plan to purchase a computer. Some colleges also provide specific recommendations for laptops.



About academics

Where's the best place to start if I have questions?

The Academic Advising Center is one of the best resources on campus. There, faculty and staff can help you with all sorts of issues, academic and otherwise. If a student is struggling with a course, for example, the center can steer him or her to tutoring programs; the center will direct a student with a personal problem to the appropriate counseling or advisory person. The center's focus is the student’s overall growth and development, including, but not limited to, academic success.

What assistance is available to me if I am experiencing academic difficulty?
Can I get help with papers and course work?
Are tutoring services available? Is there a charge?

The Academic Resource Center (ARC) is a support service that provides peer tutoring and small group review sessions for UMass Dartmouth students. At no cost, ARC offers help with writing papers and improving your study skills as well as peer tutoring, study groups and study partners, workshops on academic issues, and individualized assessments. ARC includes the Math and Business Center, the Science and Engineering Center and the Writing/Reading Center. ARC’s central telephone number is 508.999.8708.

Who is available to help me understand the university's academic requirements and policies?

Your faculty advisor can help you understand UMass Dartmouth's academic regulations and procedures. You can also seek advice at the Academic Advising Center. And finally, the university’s General Catalog is the official resource for all university policies.

Are grades sent home to parents?

Grades are not mailed home. It is the student's responsibility to use the COIN student information system—accessible through the myUMassD web portal—to access grades.

You will receive information on how to access your COIN account, and you should keep this information handy. (COIN is also the tool you will use to register for classes, add/drop classes, review financial aid award information, etc.)

How do I make sure I am fulfilling the requirements so that I may graduate?
What are the core curriculum requirements?

Because UMass Dartmouth is a university with many colleges and many majors, there's not a single or a simple answer to that question. The General Catalog is the most comprehensive resource at your disposal to review the specific academic requirements of your college and your major.

Use the General Catalog in consultation with your advisor to plan your academic career here at UMass Dartmouth. Start with this section called "Academic Regulations and Procedures" and then review the specific requirements for your college and major within the catalog.

What's Gen Ed?

The general education (Gen Ed) program at UMass Dartmouth gives students a solid foundation in areas such as computer literacy, communication skills, and global awareness. Through "Gen Ed," you study a range of subjects, learn how to examine issues thoughtfully, and develop ethical, socially responsible attitudes.

What grade point average do I need to remain in good standing?

Any student whose cumulative grade point average (GPA) falls below a satisfactory level in relation to the number of credits completed shall be subject to dismissal for unsatisfactory academic performance. In general, the minimum satisfactory GPA level for a typical freshman (having completed up to 30 credits) is 1.5; for a typical sophomore (31-60 credits), the minimum satisfactory GPA level is 1.7.

Any student having a semester grade point average below 2.0 at the conclusion of any term shall be issued an academic warning. To graduate, you must attain a cumulative average of not less than 2.0 for all credits submitted for your degree.

For complete and official information about academic sanctions and other academic regulations and procedures, refer to the Academic Regulations and Procedures section of the General Catalog.

Is there a class attendance policy?

Attendance policies vary from professor to professor. You should check with each professor at the beginning of the semester to be clear about what his or her policy is.

Who should be informed if I have a learning disability?

The Center for Access and Success provides support to both learning and physically disabled students by helping them pursue their educational goals while adjusting to the university environment. UMass Dartmouth's policy regarding admission and access to programs prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. While applicants and enrolled students are not required to disclose a disability, it is recommended they contact the Center to discuss, in confidence, accommodations that may be needed. These conferences are kept entirely separate from the admissions decision. Read the section on applicants with disabilities and/or contact the Center for Access and Success at 508.999.8711.

Can I use a tape recorder in class?

Check with your professor about his or her own policy. If you must use a tape recorder or other assistive device due to a learning or physical disability, contact the Center for Access and Success at 508.999.8711 to confidentially discuss accommodations that you may need.


Residence life

How are the residence halls staffed?

The Director and Associate Directors of Housing and Residential Life supervise the university's student residences. Each residence hall is staffed with a Resident Director, who is a full-time, live-in professional. Resident Directors, in turn, oversee a staff of student Resident Assistants assigned to each residence hall.

Do resident students need property or theft insurance?

You may be insured via your policies at home. However, it is your responsibility to make sure that you have adequate coverage and to seek additional coverage if necessary.

Can my friend and I request to be roommates?

If two students know that they want to be roommates, they must both direct such a request, in writing, to the Housing Office. This must be done by the middle of May. Students typically make this request when they complete and return their housing contracts, following acceptance.

What happens if my roommate and I aren't compatible?

Part of the adjustment to university life is learning to live with a roommate. However, if a student is having trouble getting along with his or her roommate, the first step is to speak with the Resident Assistant, who will work with the roommates to help resolve conflicts. If conflict resolution is not successful, the student may work with the Resident Assistant to initiate a room change. Room changes are permitted on a space available basis.

What happens at UMass Dartmouth on the weekends?
Do most resident students stay on campus?

Many resident students stay here for the weekend, either to participate in activities and events on campus or to explore and enjoy the surrounding communities of southeastern Massachusetts (also known as the SouthCoast). The town of Dartmouth itself offers mall and plaza shopping, a wide variety of restaurants, a 12-theater cinema complex, beautiful ocean beaches, nature trails, and more: just moments away from campus. For more information, explore:


Health concerns

What happens if I get sick?

UMass Dartmouth offers health services for our students. The Health Services Office is an outpatient facility that can evaluate and treat most problems that students have.

When a student has a problem that the Health Services can't handle, we may refer to an off-campus health care provider, consult with the student's primary care provider or with the student's permission, call the parents.

Please visit the Health Services website for more details.

What happens when Health Services are closed?

Health Services has a page on its web site devoted to this very topic: what to do when Health Services is closed.

If I am a commuter, am I entitled to treatment at Health Services?

Yes. As long as you are enrolled at UMass Dartmouth, you are eligible to use the university's health services.


If you have a question that hasn't been answered here, please contact us.

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